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Published: September 24th 2017
Colourful houses along the river in Lovech
From dancing cows to singing Bryan Adams via umbrellas hanging in a park
This summer we spent three weeks in Bulgaria. When you hear that you might ask yourself: "Three weeks in Bulgaria? How fun can that be?"
The answer is: "More fun than you can possibly imagine."
Other than the black Sea coast Bulgaria is not travelled much. That is a pity because we really enjoyed it there and we believe many others would enjoy it too. In this and the four following blogs we will tell you about what we did and where we went. If you decide to read them all we hope you will realise that Bulgaria is worth visiting and that there are plenty of things to see and do there. But before we begin we would like to point out a few things you might find interesting to know about travelling in Bulgaria.
• Prices are low compared to Western Europe. You can travel relatively cheap
• The standard of hotel rooms and other accommodation is good
• The coffee was always excellent, very cheap and easy to come by. We are big coffee drinkers so
Covered bridge in Lovech
Lovech is a city which claim to fame is that it has a covered bridge in central town. The interior of the bridge is lined with shops almost exclusively of the kind which sell souvenirs.
this is important for us. Bulgaria is a strong contender for the title of having the best coffee in the world.
• The food was absolutely fantastic. We are not joking. Bulgarian cuisine is much less famous than the Greek, the Italian and the French but what it lacks in fame it has in flavours.
• There is plenty to see and, this is important, there is a great variation of things to see and do. If you read the blogs you will see what we mean.
• We can also add that Bulgaria is a civilised country, there are few tourists but still many enough to support a tourist industry, it has a beautiful countryside, the Bulgarians are nice people, there is good hiking and much more.
We believe that the main reason why Bulgaria isn't better known and more popular among tourists is that there are no really well know sights there. There is no "Pompeii", "Venice", "Acropolis" or "Versailles". There might not be any "top 50 things to see in Europe" sights in Bulgaria but there are still plenty of sights that make it worth to spend at least three weeks
Emma looking at the Belogradchik Rocks
We decided to go on a road trip and now we will tell you about some of the things we saw and did in the first week on the road. Note that the photos are not in chronological order. So don't try to retrace our trip using the order they are posted. Lovech
– Lovech is a city which claim to fame is that it has a covered bridge in central town. The interior of the bridge is lined with shops almost exclusively of the kind which sell souvenirs.
We went to Lovech to see the bridge but also took a walk around in the town. Belogradchik
– Belogradchik has something which is unusual in Bulgaria, it has a relatively large influx of tourists. Most tourists come to see the Belogradchic Rocks, some strangely shaped rocks. The mountains around Belogradchik are mainly sandstone and millions of years of erosions have created interesting shapes such as pinnacles, pyramids and valleys and peaks. We guess you could spend several days exploring the various rocks, see them in different light and different angles. It was interesting to stop there for a few
The Belogradchik Rocks is a group of unusual looking rocks. The mountains around Belogradchik are mainly sandstone and erosion has created interesting shapes such as pinnacles and pyramids
hours and study the rocks from a few different viewing spots. Vidin
– The city Vidin is in the far northwest corner of Bulgaria close to the border with Romania. The border follows the Danube River and so does Vidin. If you have a city next to such a mighty river as the Danube no matter how large the city is it follows the river. In Vidin they have created a nice park, good for walking and other activities, along the river. The park was a nice bonus when we visited Vidin but not the reason we went there. We wanted to see an abandoned synagogue. We first read about this synagogue in a forum on Internet and we felt that we wanted to see it. We thought it was worth the drive to Vidin to see this modern ruin. You can have a look at our photos and judge for yourself if that makes sense or not.
We walked around a bit more in Vidin. In one end of the park along the Danube there was an old fortress. In the park there was also a large monument, a playground area for kids and one
Aren't these dancing cows just adorable? They are so cute we just had to show you this photo of them
or more restaurants cum nightclubs. The city centre was also pleasant to walk around in. Pleven
- We went to Pleven because we wanted to visit a wine museum there. When we came to the museum we realized that we should have checked their opening hours first because it turned out that it was closed on Tuesdays. We strongly believe that it is a good and interesting museum so it is a bummer that we weren't able to see it. Fortunately it wasn't all wasted time to drive all the way out to the museum. When we drove away from there we decided to take a shortcut along some minor roads. Those minor roads quickly became "very minor" and they led us by first a big prison and then a large military radar facility. Not by any means any tourist sites but it adds to the fun of being on a road trip when you unexpectedly bump into things like that in the middle of nowhere. It literally was in the middle of nowhere. The road we were driving on was like something straight out of the Twilight Zone. Primorsko
- A beach resort
Vidin abandoned synagogue
In the city Vidin there is an abandoned synagogue well worth visiting if you enjoy modern ruins
on the Black Sea coast. If you like to go to beaches and to party this is probably your kind of place. We only made a short visit there. We decided to go for a swim in a less crowded part of the coast. But it sure was a nice place to go for a jog in the morning. Ivanovo
- the Rock-Hewn churches of Ivanovo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The churches here are set in caves and the walls and the ceilings of the churches are painted with pictures showing various scenes from the Bible. As far as we understand only one of the churches is open for visitors. Basarbovo Rock monastery
- Only a few minutes drive away from Ivanovo is a slightly more modern and much more active place of worship where they have used caves and hollows in the mountain. Ake pulled a joke on Facebook when he published photos there from this place. Even though the joke failed then he still believes it's a good one so he repeats it here: "Rock monastery" - sounds promising. I'm thinking Queen's 'We will rock you' playing from load speakers
Inside the abandoned synagogue
We had heard of this synagogue in a forum on Internet and wanted to see it. We thought it was spectacular and that it was worth the drive to get there
at the car park, we are greeted by monks dressed like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons and in a corner an abbot is teaching novices how to play the riff from 'Sweet child of mine'. Well you can see in the photos that it seems I got something wrong... Chudnite Skali (The Wonderful Rocks)
- an unusual rock formation. Worth a quick stop if you are passing through but not worth a detour. Nearby is a small village named Asparuhovo. We ended up there when we were looking for the rock formation. It came as a surprise but it seems like quite a few tourists, probably mostly locals, go there for various activities, fishing, boat riding etc, on the dam nearby. Nesebar
- Nesebar is a city of the Black Sea coast with an interesting old town. The old town is from the medieval times and it is so well preserved that UNESCO has added it to its World Heritage List. The old town is dominated by houses built in a traditional style and churches and church ruins.
We did see more things than the abovementioned ones in the first week
Fountain in Vidin
It was a very hot day when we were in Vidin so it was nice to cool off in the fountain
we were in Bulgaria. We have published photos of a few places we haven't mentioned in the text and two or three places we stopped at simply failed to qualify for the blog. We will continue to write about our road trip in Bulgaria in our next blog entry.
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